Top 30 Reasons Sales People Fail

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Sales, Customer Service, Communications; President Telephone Doctor Customer Service. We run a pretty good sales team at Telephone Doctor. Several team members have been with us over 15 – 20 years. One even longer. Some have left after 3 weeks. My guess is those that have left, left due to one of these ‘reasons.’ Actually it’s not a guess. One of these reasons is definitely why they left. Like all lists, it’s not final. There are other reasons, however, I believe you’ll agree this is a good start. Share with your sales team.  They don’t practice their skills They’re not flexible They’re not a team player They don’t use their sense of humor They don’t use their imagination They don’t listen to management They make no effort They get too comfortable, too fast They interrupt too often They don’t ask enough open-ended questions They make too many assumptions They’re not sales minded in all areas They’re not able to handle corrective criticism They don’t have enough enthusiasm They have poor time management skills They don’t use their Saturday night personality during the week They don’t have a “Whatever It Takes” mentality They lose their focus They’re not able

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5 Frustrating Voice Mail/Cell Phone Phrases

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor® Voice mail (business or cell) remains a large frustration in this busy business world. And it’s not just voice mail. The automated attendant is also on the list. In an effort to help reduce voice mail frustration, here are the five most frustrating phrases that your callers don’t want to hear. I’ll discuss the auto attendant in another blog. Here are the big 5 Most Frustrating Voice Mail phrases. 1. I’m not at my desk right now  DUH? That’s a hot lot of news. What a boring, semi useless statement. Live a little. Let your callers know where you ARE – not where you’re not. Tell them, “I AM in the office all this week” OR “I’m in a sales meeting till 3 pm.” Let them know if you do or don’t check messages. Let them know when you will be back. 2. Your call is very important to me OMG. Really? A big time waster. The caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the heck are you?” And then again, think about it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you. You just don’t need this phrase. Semi useless 3. I’m

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Customer Service vs. Common Sense?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   We’ve all heard the saying: “Hey, customer service is just plain old common sense.” But then we all know, too, common sense is NOT that common.  Decided to make a quick list of a few common sense things that aren’t so common. See if you agree and love to have you ‘add on’ to the list. There are many more. * Cover your mouth when you yawn, cough or sneeze. * Say “you’re welcome” vs. “no problem” when someone tells you “thank you.” * Smile back at others. * Better yet. SMILE FIRST at others. * Write handwritten thank you notes when you receive a gift. Or get a new customer which is a gift! Save the text for a lunch date. Handwritten notes won’t go out of style. Texting will eventually be replaced with something else. * Bump into someone at the mall, in the hall? Say, “Excuse me.” * Remember you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar. * Stand up when a customer walks into your office or place of business. Greet the customer warmly. * Open doors for others. (Physically and emotionally

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Let’s Not Make Customer Service Harder

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor/Speaker  In a society where poor customer service is rampant, a well-trained company staff can shine if everyone adopts and commits to some simple service approaches. The result can mean not only keeping your customers happy, but also keeping them period! What is the biggest and most costly customer service mistake in business today? My answer is simple – “We’re just not friendly enough.” Customers should be treated as welcome guests when they call your office. Instead, they’re often treated like an interruption or, even worse, an annoyance. More than 90 percent of all customer service starts with a telephone call. That said, customer service mistakes happen anytime and in many ways. Customers can communicate with your company through any one of the six touch points of communication and any one of these touch points can damage a relationship, often permanently. Email Voice Mail Snail Mail Phone Fax Face-to-Face (We left off texting on purpose. Let’s leave that out for now. More on that later.) Two of these communication tools are what is known as “synchronous;” the other four are “asynchronous.” Synchronous is instant communication, when two or more people are able to communicate immediately

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Are You Passive, Average or Proactive?

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor   Take the Test and Find Out Read the scenarios below and ask yourself…which type am I? # 1. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PASSIVE person: “OK, thanks. Have a nice day.” Customer feels nothing. Usually disappointed. # 2. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from an AVERAGE person: “You sure?” Customer feels slighted. Probably could have used a little help. # 3. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PROACTIVE person: “Wow! Sorry to hear that. Are you aware there’s a Widget maker that goes with it at a discounted price? You’ll have several uses for it. Why not try it? You’ll love it.” Customer feels great. Didn’t realize there was an accessory with it and buys the Widget and the Widget maker. See the difference? Now, which one are you? FACT: There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these

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Is it a Problem or an Inconvenience?

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service There is a huge difference between a problem and an inconvenience. You know it, I know it and your customers know it. Listen to what HAPPENED TO ME the other day. We ordered a new copy machine at Telephone Doctor. Gentleman brings the machine into the office. As he’s installing the machine, one of the ladies sees the screen has a rather large crack on it and tells the installer. The young man who wheeled in the machine came looking for me to tell me and proudly exclaims, “Mrs. Friedman, we have a problem.” Because I am a problem solver I asked, “What is it?” “Well,” he says, “the screen on the copier machine is cracked.” I say, “Can it be fixed?” He says, “yes ma’am.” “Well, then,” I tell him, “we don’t have a problem, we have a minor inconvenience.” He thought about that and then smiled. “When can it be fixed?” I ask. “Oh, today for sure,” he says. Then I assured him, “We don’t even have an inconvenience.” Why even use the word ‘problem?’ Why alert the customer to that? If you really need to let them know something

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8 Sinful Customer Service Actions

  By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Author, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service This is not MY list. These “sins” are from my audiences who share their views when I speak at conferences across the country. We survey the groups to find out what bothers them from companies. And man, how they love to vent. And they love to let me know what bugs them, what frustrates them, how they want to be treated as a customer. Usually a freewheeling discussion and one that gets my attention a lot. It should get yours. So listen up. Your customers are talking to you. And customer service training can help you. Drum roll please…in no particular order. By the way, these go for on the phone or in person. As a matter of fact, all 6 touch points of communication.   Sin #1: Not smiling Man is that important. Our Telephone Doctor motto: “A phony smile is better than a real frown” would have helped the gal who was trying to help me Saturday. What a poopy face she had on her. I refused to let it get me down or let her infect me at all. I smiled all the way through

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Scripts vs. Conversations

By Nancy Friedman, President / Keynote Customer Service Speaker / Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   For years I have been working with companies to upgrade, tweak and help with scripts their sales and/or customer service reps. Fast forward. Now we’re trying to get our clients who ask for help with a script to consider going to conversations with aided recall. There is danger and pitfalls to both scripts and conversations though. Let me explain. Scripts were designed for actors. Actors know how to read a script. Most folks don’t. It’s that simple. When you give a person a script they tend to ‘read’ it. Well what’s wrong with that Nancy? Aren’t you suppose to read a script? Yes, but it’s the old ‘HOW’ you read it that counts. We have all been accosted by a phone call and someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn or worse. And in the professional scripts there are words for everyone (all actors) to respond. In your business script there’s normally only words for what the rep is saying. There are no words for the customer – the responder (the other actor). Oh there may be some things like “if the customer says

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Franchise Today REVIEW from Franchise DIRECT on Nancy’s Interview

Franchise Today Review: Improving Customer Service November 25, 2014 Customer service expert Nancy Friedman was the guest on the November 19, 2014 edition of the podcast. Nancy aka the Telephone Doctor has been featured on The Oprah Show, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, Good Morning Canada and Great Britain, CNN, and Fox News. She has also published several books and been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and others. This episode was different from the previous ones in the way in that Paul and Nancy touched on several different topics, but didn’t go in depth with many. But that didn’t stop the episode from being very informative as you will read. The main takeaway – Social media is important, but don’t discount the power of the phone. A lot of CEOs and executives have not yet grasped onto social media and what it can do for their franchises as a powerful communications tool. To relay the reality of the changing communication landscape between generations, Nancy relayed a story of a friend who was still using a flip-phone (!). The friend expressed to Nancy some disappointment at not hearing from her kids

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Strangers on a Train

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor   I love to read short blogs sometimes and I love to write them too. Blogs don’t always need to be long. This is one of those short ones. It’s about strangers and customers. We know we have paid customers. We know we have internal customers. We know we have potential future customers. We even know we have lost customers. But what about strangers as customers? What do you mean, Nancy? I mean, are strangers your customers? Let me explain. We sit next to strangers on an airplane, in movie theaters, buses, trains, restaurants, all sorts of places. We interact with them. Often in depth. Some tell us their life story before we even get a name and sometimes we never do get a name. We often tell strangers our darkest secrets. Therapeutic that it is; strange isn’t it? We shop next to strangers, we talk to all sorts of strangers. Even though we were warned as a child NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS. Ever! We say “excuse me” to strangers when we bump into them at the mall. We say “thank you” to a stranger who might help us carry a package or pick

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Why “Hi, how are you?” is Semi-Useless

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor My mother lived with me in her last years. We enjoyed her sense of humor. Here’s part of what made me realize how useless the phrase, “Hi, how are you?” really is. The house phone rang. Esther answered. The man says, “Hi, Mrs. Friedman, this is Dan from XXX. How are you?” My mother says – without missing a beat, “I’m so glad you called. I have a bad case of diarrhea, a terrible migraine, been vomiting all day, my pacemaker is running slower than normal, and I have a bad rash. How are you?” He said, “Well, compared to you, a hell of a lot better” and hung up. Point being, “Hi, how are you” is semi-useless especially to those we don’t even know. I’ve seen folks pass in the halls, in a mall, in an office, everywhere. One says, “Hi, how are you?” The other says, “Fine, how are you?” No one stops; they’re still walking and nothing was accomplished. I’ve removed “Hi, how are you” from my vocabulary. It’s been replaced with any one of these phrases and I share them with you: Good to see you. Hi, you’re looking well.

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Costly Corporate Comments

By: Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service   We have all said them. We have all heard them. They aren’t dirty. They’re not 4 letter words. They’re not bad. They are comments that can and do cost your company time and money each time they are said. Why? Because normally they stop the conversation and divert it to something non-related to what’s really at stake or what you’re talking about. These are the top costly corporate comments (yes there are more) and they can be said to anyone; clients, co-workers and family as well. (They’re not in any special order.) Recognize them?         * “I willllllll.”         * “I’ll try.”         * “I thought I did.”         * “I usually do.”         * “I just was going to.” Let’s talk about them: 1.   The “I Willlll” is usually dragged out and often in a very squeaky tone and dragged out enough to annoy the other person – a lot.       It’s normally said because the person ‘forgot’ to do what you asked. 2.   “I’ll Try.” You know what? I expect you to try. That’s a given and frankly, insulting to me. It’s as though you’re telling me,

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Warning! Contagious Condition!

There is an infectious condition that may run rampant through your office. It has been brought to our attention that many of you already have this condition, and that everyone is, at least, a carrier. Little is known about the history of the condition, but there is some evidence that it has persisted in humans for thousands of years. The condition is occasionally dormant in some people and in apparent remission. A few people never show symptoms. Experts indicate that the condition is highly contagious, but not always serious. In fact, for some people it may be beneficial. Statistics regarding the condition are difficult to develop as most cases go unreported. The condition is most commonly passed by personal contact. You may catch it just by speaking with an infected person. Initial symptoms are so mild that you may not even realize you have been infected. Later, the condition may have more marked effects on you. Scientists also believe that the condition compounds itself, that is, the severity increases with increased exposure. Experts also report that the condition can be transmitted in other ways. Reading a letter written by an infected person may create symptoms. Several cases have indicated instances

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Five Phrases to Sabotage Your Business

By Nancy Friedman, President Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist   There are many, many words and phrases that can and will sabotage your business. And, chances are, your staff is saying some of these now without your even knowing it – on the phone and in person. And worse yet, you’ve probably even said some of these yourself (ouch)! That’s the bad news. The good news is we’re able to bring to you the top five sabotaging phrases and then show you how to neutralize the effects. So get ready. You and your staff are about to be in a much better position to handle the Five Phrases to Sabotage Your Business today: 1. I Have No Idea This is normally used as an excuse than anything else. It’s a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain something to the customer (i.e. no product training). This phrase is used as something to say when the employee doesn’t know what to say. When the customer hears “I have no idea” they immediately respond (usually silently) with, “You gotta be kidding me?” Interestingly enough, there normally is a certain blank stare accompanying this statement.

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eCommerce Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Unless you live under a rock, you know we are well into the era of the internet, online and social media. The demands of customers for superior service have intensified. No argument there. Remember: It’s all about the “experience.” To understand the impact, look at customer communication in two categories: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous – meaning that both people communicating need to be on the same device at the same time such as phone, face-to-face, chat, and the like. You ask and you get results immediately. No waiting. Asynchronous, of course, is one-way communication such as fax, voice mail, email and good old snail mail. (Remember that?) When we think of regular customer service, we generally think of face-to-face and telephone interactions. But today suffice to say, there are way more ways to communicate with our customers and the online is a powerful part of that communication. More and more organizations are exploring new opportunities in electronic eCommerce. They sense that they can reach segments of their audiences more quickly and effectively online. With this in mind, there is a greater need than ever before

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Scattered, Random Thoughts

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service   As an admitted A.D.D., I’ve always wanted to do an article like this; sharing thoughts that randomly come into my mind. Some are business thoughts and some are personal. Enjoy.  * I really have a hard time with the person who says, “Oh, ok” when I’ve just logged a complaint. It’s as though they didn’t hear me. That’s not the right thing to say when I’m not a happy camper.  * Don’t you hate it when you let someone in front of you in traffic and they don’t wave a thank you?  * Forrest Tucker of F Troop, for those who remember, once told me, “Some folks get overcome with the smell of their own perfume.” Great statement when you realize what he meant.  * Why does the nurse say, “The doctor will be right with you” and then they don’t show up for 45 minutes.  * How about the person who takes the last cup of coffee from the pot and doesn’t make more?  * Ever wonder why some folks aren’t able to laugh at themselves?  * Someone once told me, “Grow old

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11+ Theatre Skills for Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service   What type of theatre experience have you ever had? Why do I ask you that question? Because if you have ever been on stage in a play, part of a band, chorus, dance group, stage manager, grip, sound, prompter, make up, lighting, director, or any form of theatre where the audience and other co-workers are depending on you, then you probably already know the answer to why I ask. And you probably have a great background for customer service! I have a professional theatre background and it has helped my career thrive immensely in the customer service arena. Now, it doesn’t mean if you don’t have a theatre background you won’t be good in customer service, it just means you’ll understand the mentality of customer service faster, and perhaps better. Theatre 101, as I call it, is a perfect pre-curser to being in customer service. It prepares you in the best way for all these topics and many more. I fibbed, there are more than 11 skills. That’s a good thing though. Here they are. * Interacting with others * Being on time *

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I’m in Customer Service, I Can’t Help You

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Customer Service Expert, Engagement Specialist, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service   So close yet so far away. A true but short story. The good Lord as my witness, these words were said to me the other day at a high end retail store in St. Louis, MO. Yes, those exact words. “Sorry, I’m in customer service, I can’t help you.” I stared blankly at the young man who said that thinking to myself, “He didn’t really say that did he?” But yes, he did. I had asked for some help to look at some jewelry. The first woman I asked said, “I’m so sorry, I’m with another customer.” Ok, fair, not great, but fair. Then I turned to the young man standing behind the counter and said I’d like to see “that” necklace, pointing to the one I wanted. And with a big smile (cuz he was taught that in customer service class) he said, “I’m sorry, I’m in customer service, I can’t help you.” All I thought after my shock was, wow…what a good blog this will make! I realized after he said it that he was in “their” customer service department, upstairs, probably taking

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How NOT to Answer a Phone Call

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist. Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training A recent email we received below gave us some good ammunition for this blog. While the industry, as you can see, is in the legal profession, believe me, it can happen in every industry. Read on: It’s from an attorney (no jokes, please). “Around 1:00 p.m. today I returned opposing counsel’s telephone call from this morning. The first person that answered the phone took my name and asked me to hold while she checked to see if she was back from lunch. After a short hold she came back on the line and transferred my call. At that point opposing counsel’s assistant answered the phone. She took my name for the second time and put me back on hold. After holding a couple of minutes, opposing counsel’s assistant came back on the line and asked if I could call back in twenty minutes! I am sure that her assistant is telling opposing counsel that I am a jerk because I answered, “No, I am calling her back now.” It’s a well-known fact that the first voice you hear and what they say when you call

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Do We Need to Agree With Customers?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service expert, Engagement Specialist, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   As most of you are aware, all the stories we share with you at our onsite programs and in our newsletters, blogs, etc., are ‘true.’ Nothing is made up. They either happened to me personally, I witnessed them, or I verified the information if I am going to share it. Credibility is key to Telephone Doctor. We don’t make anything up. That being said, I want to share a story that happened to me the other weekend. It’s a clear example of WHY we don’t need to agree with the customer all the time. I went into my bank prepared to make some minor changes to a few accounts. It was a Saturday and the only other folks in the bank were the teller and the one lady (who never gave me her name and had no badge) who tried to help me. I say ‘tried’ because it was a comedy of errors. Now, please know, just because I’m the Telephone Doctor I do not make a big deal out of poor service. I don’t try and teach the person what to do

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